It’s Time to Give Thanks for Some Great and Maybe Not-So-Great Moments in Sports

Although I'm not a Yankees' fan, I'm thankful for the career of Derek Jeter.

I have an extensive list as to why Thanksgiving Day is the best holiday of them all but I’m not going in to that. I’ll boil it down this way for you; food and football. Does there really need to be anything other than those two things when we really get right down to it?

Today is a good day for me to give thanks to many things from the world of sports in the last calendar year so let’s not wait any longer.

I’m thankful for…

Derek Jeter. No one did it as professionally and as respectfully as the captain for 20 straight years.

The San Antonio Spurs who proved that winning basketball titles is still about how well you play as a team, not as a group of individuals.

The people at North Carolina who finally had the courage to come out with the news of the academic fraud that had been happening for years.

Ed O’Bannon and the other players who put a stop to the NCAA and EA Sports using their likenesses without compensation in video games. The time I have saved this year not playing the newest version of NCAA Football on Xbox 360 is immeasurable.

Playoff hockey which no matter who is playing it’s still the most thrilling playoff in sports.

The Tallahassee Police Department who continue to make the Keystone Cops look like CIA agents.

The people who bought Devon Still jerseys even if they weren’t Bengals’ fans.

College Football finally getting rid of the BCS.

Brady Hoke, Bo Pelini and Will Muschamp for giving me so much to write about this fall.

The Kansas City Royals who once again showed how great sports can really be.

Roger Goodell who as long as he is running the NFL will give me plenty to rant about.

J.J. Watt who proves that great players can be great people too.

O’Dell Beckham’s amazing catch which took attention away from talking about the Cowboys.

Why shouldn't we be thankful to Justin Verlander for giving us more opportunities to see Kate Upton?

Justin Verlander who keeps giving us more opportunities to see Kate Upton.

Not having to hear the name “Richie Incognito” this season.

Every player that scores in the waning moments just to make my betting pick look good.

College Gameday Signs which never stop making me laugh and cry for our nation at the same time.

Jon Gruden who makes watching Monday Night Football interesting from either a football standpoint or a “What the hell did he just say?” standpoint.

Officials in all sports and at all levels. It’s the most thankless job in all of sports.

Penn State who continues to wear the same uniform week in and week out rather than something new and flashy every week in an effort to sell jerseys.

California Chrome who gave us another amazing shot at the Triple Crown.

Batters who don’t need to re-adjust their batting gloves, body armor or cup between every single pitch.

Coaches who actually answer questions in their press conferences rather than give the same, tired responses each week.

An A-Rod free baseball season.

For Twitter which reminds me how great and horrible sports’ fans can be in just two tweets.

Jerry Jones who reminds all of us of the dangers of too much plastic surgery.

Jim Harbaugh who makes it OK for us guys to wear Wal-Mart pants. On second thought…

Two more months of NFL football.

Isn’t it nice to be thankful?





Belmont Fallout Plus the Stanley Cup Finals

California Chrome Co-Owner Steve Coburn's rant wasn't sportsmanlike, but he was absolutely right.

California Chrome became the 13th horse in the last 38 years to fail to win the Triple Crown but the real story was not the horses but California Chrome’s co-owner Steve Coburn. Obviously upset in the moments following his horse’s failed attempt at glory, Coburn said of winner Tonalist that “it’s the coward’s way out.”

What Coburn was referring to was the fact that Tonalist did not race in either the Kentucky or the Preakness Stakes. Therefore he was clearly the fresher horse. While I agree that Coburn’s rant immediately following his horse’s loss made him look like a sore loser, I also believe he is 100% correct. California Chrome in recent weeks has been dubbed ‘America’s horse’ in large part due to the fact he was purchased for just $10,000. This is considered chump change in the high stakes word of horse racing.

Also part of the aura around the horse was the fact that his owners seemed to be ‘salt of the Earth’ people which appealed to the common folk among us. It’s in that vein that I understand Coburn’s passion and emotion. Could he have chosen a better venue and a more reserved style in airing his thoughts? Absolutely he could have, but then he wouldn’t have been himself and that was part of the appeal of who he is.

His point is true though. Horses who run the first two legs of the Triple Crown are at a decided disadvantage when compared to horses who run only one or none of them. People not familiar with horse racing often struggle to understand just how massive of a toll these races take on the individual horses. They are not like human beings who can recover after a few days. They need substantially more time.

Coburn’s point has not only scientific evidence behind it but also solid pieces of true sportsmanship as well. Despite the way things came off, I hope the people who run the sport strongly consider what Coburn is saying.

The Rangers are down 0-2 but Henrik Lundqvist is the one guy who can bring them back.

Rangers Head East Down 0-2

You’d be extremely hard-pressed to find to opening games of any Stanley Cup Final as exciting as these two have been. In the opener, the Los Angeles Kings won 3-2 after falling behind 2-0 in the first period. As they climbed back into the game, the Kings peppered the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist repeatedly through the third period before they finally solved Lundqvist late in the final period.

In game two, the Rangers jumped to a 2-0 lead again and would actually have leads of 3-1 and 4-2 before finally dropping the contest in the second overtime period.

Entering this series I picked LA to win in six games. I felt their offensive firepower and a better than average Jonathan Quick would be enough to beat the Rangers despite Lundqvist being a notch above Quick. In reality, the series has been much closer than even I anticipated and I don’t think this series is over by a stretch.

I think the overwhelming athleticism by the Kings has been the difference but the Rangers have countered with speedsters Carl Hagelin and Mats Zuccarello creating great opportunities. If the Rangers can even things up in Madison Square Garden then I think it’s an absolute toss-up heading back to LA.

The major difference between hockey and all other sports is the goalie position. While Lundqvist cannot win this series on his own, he can make enough of a difference to keep his Rangers in it.

I still feel like the Kings will take home the Cup but look no further than 2011 when Boston was down 0-2 to Vancouver before they came back to win it.

Pacers Take Game One and Will We Have a Triple Crown Winner or Not?

Paul George and the Indiana Pacers took game one in Miami.

Allow me a moment to bask in the sunshine of a Pacers victory that I just couldn’t help but see coming. The last three months, the Indiana Pacers have looked like anything but a team that could defeat the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.

The Pacers struggled through the first and second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs leaving very few people to think they would have a chance in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat. I chose to see this differently however because the Pacers have been better on the road in these playoffs than they have at home. That isn’t the only reason I like them though.

It’s been abundantly evident to me that the Pacers have been waiting for this moment to get another shot at Miami and now it’s here. They did not let the opportunity get away from them with a 107-96 win at home.

Both teams shot 51% on the day but the game was won and lost at the free throw line. Indiana made far more than the Heat even attempted going 29 for 37 while the Heat hit on just 10 of 15 free throws for 66%. What that tells us is that Indiana was clearly the aggressor in this game taking the ball to the hoop on numerous occasions.

This game by no means indicates the Heat are done but they now know what they need to do at both ends of the floor. Besides the fact they already knew Indiana would have a rebounding advantage, Miami still must address it. The Heat must get bodies on the bigger Pacers’ front court guys.

Look for Miami to bounce back in game two but it won’t happen unless they rebound and take more balls to the hoop more often.

Will California Chrome run in the Belmont or sit out because of a nasal strip?

My good fortune this weekend wasn’t relegated to just the NBA because I also liked California Chrome to win the Preakness Stakes on Saturday and he did exactly that. Of course, I also had Bayern and Ria Antonia in the top three so I wasn’t exactly flawless.

Chrome’s 1 1/2 length victory sends him to the Belmont where he will be looking to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. As of yesterday however, this might not be the case.

During Chrome’s six-race winning streak, trainers have had the young horse wearing a nasal strip ala Jerry Rice back in the days with the San Francisco 49ers. The problem for the California Chrome team is that New York, where the Belmont is held, doesn’t allow nasal strips. This doesn’t mean that the CC team can’t ask for an exception as the horse has been wearing one for sometime, but it’s likely we won’t know the answer for some time.

Obviously, there will be tremendous pressure on the folks in New York to allow the horse to wear the nasal strip because of the money involved. Television networks, sponsors and even racing enthusiasts will want to see this horse have a legitimate shot at winning the crown but the final decision on whether Chrome runs or not will ultimately sit with the owners.

As the day wore on yesterday, it was up in the air as to whether the owners would still run California Chrome in the Belmont should the nasal strip not be allowed. The mile and a half race is the longest and most grueling of the three Triple Crown races and happens to be a length that Chrome has yet to race.

As of right now, I just can’t imagine this horse not running. With history and tremendous riches at stake, it will be awfully hard to turn down.

Weekend Ramblings Offer a Bevy of Sports Entertainment

Floyd Mayweather looks to extend his record to 46-0 tonight.

This is the time of year on the calendar when all four major professional sports are fighting for space on the sports’ page of your local fish wrap. The National Hockey League and National Basketball Association are in the midst of the playoffs while Major League Baseball now has a month under its’ belt.

Even the National Football League has found a way to stay relevant by moving its’ annual college player selection to the second weekend in May as opposed to the third or fourth weekend in April. A move decried by many, it has been yet another stroke of genius by the one league that can’t seem to do anything wrong despite one issue after another.

The four major team sports aren’t the only games in town right not however because there are other activities set to gear up later today.

Late this evening, 37-year old Floyd Mayweather, Jr will step into the ring for a re-unification bout against Marcos Maidana. Mayweather will earn about $32 million this evening win or lose with most expecting him to do the former. A win will take his record to 46-0 and questions will continue about how much longer he really wants to keep doing this.

Maidana enters with a record of 35-3 and of those wins, 31 are by knockout. The Argentinian is probably less of a boxer and more of a brawler which should work to Mayweather’s advantage. The Grand Rapids, Michigan native has always relied on tremendous speed and technique in out-dueling opponents.

Mayweather has faced many boxers who possess a bigger punch but none has been successful in catching him just right which is really what Maidana will have to do. Mayweather enters as a significant favorite and with good reason. I expect him to wear down Maidana and walk out with a unanimous decision.

Also on the Saturday Smorgasbord is the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. Often called the “fastest two minutes in sports,” the Derby seems to have sneaked its’ way into our minds this year.

California Chrome enters the 140th Kentucky Derby as a heavy favorite.

At the current time, 19 horses are vying for the roses and California Chrome appears to be an overwhelming favorite coming in. This West Coast horse won the Santa Anita Derby about a month ago without really even trying. It was his fourth straight win and in all four of those victories his challenges have been few.

Currently listed at 5/2, Chrome is almost too good to be true. He’s been quite dominant yet so far this week has looked uncomfortable on the track at Churchill Downs. That isn’t necessarily uncommon but his handlers would much rather prefer he was feeling better on the track.

At 8/1, Wicked Strong is Chrome’s nearest competitor. The aptly named thoroughbred from the Boston, Massachusetts area has won just two of his six starts but looked good in his most recent race. If you are looking for an interesting pick, look no further than Intense Holiday or Ride On Curlin. Each is currently listed at 15/1 but both have solid experience on board.

2010 Winner John Valazquez takes the mount for Intense Holiday while three-time champion Calvin Borel has the reins for Ride On Curlin.

Whatever the outcome today in the Run for the Roses, let’s hope that we have a horse that we can pay attention to throughout the month. There are very few things as exciting as a horse with a chance to win the Triple Crown and we could use a little does of that right now.

Second Leg of the Triple Crown Ready to Go

Preakness Stakes
Preakness Stakes
The Preakness has another small field this year which could mean good things for Orb.

It’s hard to imagine but the Kentucky Derby field of 19 horses has been reduced by more than half for the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes today outside Baltimore, Maryland. Just nine horses are in the field as of this writing and Kentucky Derby winner Orb is an overwhelming favorite to win the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Conditions for the late afternoon start at Pimlico Race Track appear to be ideal. The temperature is predicted to be in the mid seventies with little if any chance for rain. The track conditions are currently listed as fast with the turf conditions stated as firm. For all things “Preakness,” make  sure you check out after you read my predictions.

Here’s a brief write-up for each of the horses in today’s event. (Starting from the first post position.)

Orb 1/1 – The Kentucky Derby champion is the clear-cut favorite with Joel Rosario once again on board. Common sense would have to tell you that if Orb ran as well as he did in the Derby in those cool, rainy and muddy conditions then he should do even better here. The biggest difference for Orb and Rosario is that they are on the inside whereas they came from the 16th position at Churchill Downs.

Goldencents 8/1 – The Rick Pitino co-owned horse was extremely disappointing in the Kentucky Derby finishing 17th. I had he and jockey Kevin Krigger picked to take third so I wasn’t the only one they let down. The good news is that Goldencents will certainly do better than 17th, but my confidence in him shaken right now.

Titletown Five
Titletown Five should be easy to pick out today at the Preakness.

Titletown Five 30/1 – The longest shot of any of the nine horses in the field, Titletown Five will be a sentimental favorite for any Green Bay Packers’ fans out there betting the ponies this weekend. Co-owned by Paul Hornung and Willie Davis, jockey Julien Leparoux will be wearing the colors of green and gold while on the mount. In three races this year, the horse has finishes of fourth, ninth and second. His last four races in 2012 were first, second, fourth and third.

Departing 6/1 – This horse’s last five races have finished with four firsts and one third place. While this will be a greater test for the horse in terms of length, it’s hard to ignore those credentials. His third place finish came behind Mylute and Revolutionary who both are in the field and had strong Derby finishes as well.

Mylute 5/1 – Rosie Napravnik is coming off a great run in the Derby aboard Mylute as she finished fifth. This horse has raced ten times in the last calendar year and has two wins, two second-places and two third-places among those. This is Napravnik’s first ever go in the Preakness but she should be able to handle the attention.

Oxbow 15/1 –  Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens takes the mount on Oxbow who has been a very busy horse this year. This will be Oxbow’s sixth race of the 2013 year and is one of trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ three entries in the field. Stevens has twice won this event and is no stranger to the pressures of the Triple Crown events which should help ease Oxbow.

Will Take Charge 12/1 – Another Lukas-trained horse and another hall of fame jockey in the saddle in 47-year old Mike Smith as Will Take Charge looks to follow an interesting pattern in his last four races. Eighth, first, sixth and first are the orders of finish for this horse in his last four events. If you like trends, here’s one to jump on.

Governor Charlie 12/1 – Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Governor Charlie has three races under his belt and that’s it. His finishes however are impressive as he earned two wins and a runner-up finish.

It’s My Lucky Day 10/1 – In 11 events dating back to June of 2012, this horse had five wins in those races. His lowest finish was a sixth place showing until the Kentucky Derby happened. Clearly the conditions and the distance affect the horse as he struggled to a 15th place finish.

Prediction: Orb, Mylute, Will Take Charge


Is It Orb and Everyone Else in the Preakness?



Can Orb repeat his Kentucky Derby win with a victory in the Preakness?

The 138th Preakness Stakes will be off and running this Saturday in Baltimore at Pimlico Race Track with just nine entries as of this posting. That is down significantly from the 19 that ran at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby.

Derby winner Orb enters as the favorite. After looking more like just another ‘also-ran’ through the first portion of the race, Orb came on strong and passed then-leader Normandy Invasion as if the horse were standing still. Orb ended up winning the roses by three lengths ahead of Golden Soul. Revolutionary took third place.

Obviously the big question entering the second of the three Triple Crown races is “Can Orb take the next step towards a Triple Crown?”

My immediate thought is “why not?” This horse showed the ability travel a long ways and then still have the stamina at the end. The horse also is streaking too. Orb has won five straight races now and is unbeaten in the 2013 year.

Jockey Joel Rosario is a veteran with over 1,000 wins but has only raced in the Preakness Stakes on one other occasion. Is that enough to scare off some potential wagers in Orb’s direction? Personally I don’t think it is. This guy just pulled off an expected, yet big win in the slop and cool temperatures of Lousiville two weeks ago and now will run for the Preakness title in very favorable conditions of 75 degrees and partly cloudy.

With just eight other contenders on the track, Orb will have much less traffic to deal with and will obviously not have to come all the way from the 16th post position as he did in the Derby. While Orb will no doubt be a significant favorite heading to the gate Saturday afternoon that doesn’t mean that other horses are just going to stop along the rails and beg for apples.


D. Wayne Lukas
Legendary D. Wayne Lukas has three horses competing in the Preakness.

Legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas has three horses entered in the Preakness including Oxbow who finished 6th at Churchill Downs. Oxbow was actually right with Normandy Invasion about the time Orb came crusing past on his way to the win. Veteran jockey Gary Stevens will be aboard Oxbow and he is no stranger to success at Pimlico as he has two wins and two second place finishes as well.

Will Take Charge is another Lukas horse and stablemate of Oxbow who finished 8th in the Derby. If you look at his list of most recent events you’ll see it’s kind of feast or famine for this horse. In his four races this year, Will Take Charge has a first, a sixth a first and an eighth. Lukas has another hall of fame jockey on this mount in 47-year old Mike Smith. That pattern of finishes is hard to ignore if I’m wagering.

One of the horses that received a ton of attention prior to the Kentucky Derby was Goldencents who disappointed greatly by finishing 17th. This is a horse that in his previous four races had three wins and a fourth place finish. Goldencents started strong in the Derby but quickly faded which makes me wonder how jockey Kevin Krigger will take him out on Saturday.

As of right now, I just don’t see a horse that makes me want to move my money off of Orb. Make sure you get over to for the latest Preakness Stakes action that I can’t deliver you. Redemption will certianly be the order of the day for Goldencents but I’m not convinced he’ll be ready. Stay with Orb right now and check back in with me on Saturday.



The 139th Run for the Roses

Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs is the site of the 139th Kentucky Derby today.

The Kentucky Derby has really become much more than just a horse race. It truly is a slice of Americana at its’ absolute finest. Where else can you find 170,000 people packed into relatively small area for two minutes of action? The Derby is everything we love about the country in which we live. There will be live music, plenty of alcohol especially in the form of mint juleps and there is great tradition.

From the call to the gate to the intense final turn where these amazing animals are headed for home, the Kentucky Derby allows us an opportunity to wager in a manner that is rarely if ever seen. The athletes today have not been paid multi-million dollar contracts nor have they received lucrative endorsement deals. Their pay-off is in the form of oats and a maybe a carrot or two and to be honest, they could care less if you wager on them or not.

Granted these are not your average horses. They are treated like precious gems and well they should be because their value is often worth more than most fine jewelry. Some would argue they are often trained too hard and that they are so physically ‘tuned up’ that they become overly fragile. Regardless of these factors, our job is to evaluate the horses, their trainers and their jockeys as the 139th Run for the Roses is ready to go later this afternoon.

Derby Notes: If you’re looking for the slightest little thing to alter your wagering plans here’s thought… Since 1900, the gate positions of one and five have accounted for 22% of the winners. In those spots respectively today are Black Onyx who has since been scratched and Normandy Invasion who is currently listed at 5-1. Look ahead to the Preakness by checking out as the winner looks ahead to stage two of the Triple Crown.

Breaking Down the Favorites

Calvin Borel
Borel is searching for his fourth Derby win.

Orb – The Derby favorite is currently going at 7/2 and in his two prep races has two victories with the most recent win coming at the Florida Derby. The trainer Shug McGaughey is a native of Lexington but has not won a Kentucky Derby and this appears to be his best shot. Jockey Joel Rosario had had a very distinguished career to this point and has raced at Churchill Downs before but is seeking his first win.

Revolutionary – At 10/1 Revolutionary is one of the favorites today simply because of the experience at both jockey and trainer. Calvin Borel is on the mount at the Derby again where has won three times. Trainer Todd Pletcher has won one Derby but has had tremendous success across the world of horse racing. This horse had two warm-ups finishing first in both.

Verrazano – Another Todd Pletcher-trained horse, Verrazano comes in with a first and a second in his prep races with the win coming at the Wood Memorial. On the mount is John Velazquez who rode Animal Kingdom to a Derby win in 2011. This horse is currently at 4/1 and will race from the 16th post position.

Goldencents – I profiled this horse on Thursday because he is loaded with all kinds of storylines. From one of his owners being Rick Pitino to his jockey Kevin Krigger aiming to become the first African-American Winner in over 100 years, this horse would be an amazing story as a winner. He is going from the 8th position and is currently listed at 5/1.

Don’t count out… Oxbow. Trained by legendary D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by three-time Derby champion Gary Stevens, he has some good finishes in prep races… Normandy Invasion. Sitting in the prized 5th slot, this horse is far from a long-shot at 12-1 but could certainly come up roses. He has two 2nd place finishes in his two prep races.

My Prediction: I hate going against a guy who has had the type of run Rick Pitino has had recently but Goldencents will have a good run today himself but it won’t be for the win. I find the combination of Stevens and Lukas tough to beat on Oxbow, but the horse I like today is Revolutionary with Calvin Borel gunning for a 4th Derby title. I like Revolutionary, Oxbow and Goldencents today.


Human Interest Stories Dominate the Kentucky Derby



Can Krigger and Goldencents pull off the win at Churchill Downs this week?

Spring for much of the United States has been very slow in coming as snow as blanketed parts of the Midwest and East well into April but things seem to be changing. With a nice breath of warm air and the Kentucky Derby just days away, the blue skies and regular warm temps cannot be far behind.

This will be the 139th “Run for the Roses” and it has no shortage of storylines as if it ever does. Much of the most interesting news heading into the Derby surrounds a thoroughbred named Goldencents which belongs to an ownership group that includes Louisville Basketball Coach Rick Pitino.

Goldencents won last month’s Santa Anita Derby which has been considered the stepping stone for Kentucky Derby horses and favorites for many years. Being that it is on the West Coast and just a month before the triple crown begins, winning the Santa Anita Derby carries huge ramifications and expectations going forward.

The win in California was the fourth in six races for Goldencents but the kicker is that only four of the last ten Kentucky Derby winners have won their final prep race before running at Churchill Downs.

Since the Santa Anita started in 1935, only seven winners of this event have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby so Goldencents has his work cut out for him.

The other key storyline involving this horse is the jockey. Kevin Krigger hails from the US Virgin Islands and could be the first African-American since 1902 to win the greatest prize in horse racing. Perhaps even more incredible is the fact that he’ll be just the second African-American to even ride in the Derby since 1921.

At 29 years old, Krigger will be facing a tough field and his first time ever on the hallowed grounds of Churchill Downs. This is one of the two major factors concerning me and you, should you want to wager on Goldencents.


Rosie Napravnik
Napravnik could make history with a win in the Kentucky Derby.

The other issue deals with the horse himself and the question of just how far is he willing to run? At a mile and a quarter, this will be a test for the thoroughbred who has yet to run this distance yet seems to have the will and ability to do it. Do you have the will to wager on this horse is the question? Right now I have a hard time betting against anything involving Rick Pitino.

Kentucky Derby Notes: Kevin Krigger isn’t the only social story taking place this year. Rosie Napravnik will be aboard Mylute and will be shooting to become the first woman ever to win the Derby. She already holds the best finish by a woman with a ninth place finish in 2011… Current odds have Verrazanno and Orb going off at 4/1 while Goldencents is listed at 11/2… Last year of course was the great run by I’ll Have Another who stormed from behind in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness to take the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Speaking of the Preakness, make sure you  get over to for everything related to that race right after the Derby is over. As fate would have it, on Friday before the Belmont, he was shut down and retired due to tendinitis leaving Affirmed as the last Triple Crown winner in 1978… If you’re thinking of betting a filly, don’t. Only three have won the Derby and the last was Winning Colors in 1988. That string will go another year with no fillies in the field.

Belmont Stakes, NBA, NHL Playoffs, and MLB Action Set for Sports Betting

If Friday was too much of a lull for most sports fans, Saturday certainly makes up for all of it, as today we’re faced with so many options for online sports betting it’ll be hard to choose which events to place your wagers on! With a full crop of great available wagers extending from the NBA playoffs, NHL Stanley Cup Finals, MLB Baseball and horse racing, there’s no doubt that any type of sports fan will find their perfect betting fix as Saturday moves forward. Though yesterday’s unfortunate news brought to light the fact that we won’t have another Triple Crown contender this year for the 144th running of the Belmont Stakes, as Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another has been scratched from the race and shockingly forced to retire on the same day with a tendon injury, nonetheless today’s famed 3rd leg of the Triple Crown should make for an exciting addition to betting on sports. With a field of 11 horses, and a new favorite in Dullahan, who gets 7/4 odds today at our featured online sportsbook of the day at WagerWeb Sportsbook, make sure to do some extra reading up as with I’ll Have Another out of the race, it could be anyone’s race today. The new crop of contenders features some great picks available on horses like the previously mentioned Dullahan, as well as Union Rags (5/2), Paynter (4/1), and Street Life (8/1), who are all very capable horses that could see a Belmont Stakes victory today. Start your wagers off with some great horse racing action, as once this race is over, we’ll have to wait another year for the possibility of a Triple Crown contender to emerge.

Shifting focus over to playoff action today, two outstanding showdowns are set for this evening, with the NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 7 set between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat, as well as the Stanley Cup Finals Game 5, in which the Los Angeles Kings will get their second straight crack at securing the elusive Stanley Cup trophy. For the first look at playoff wagering at the top online sportsbooks, check out the Miami Heat favored over the Boston Celtics, with the game back in South Florida tonight at the American Airlines Arena. Miami has a huge nod as favorites on the money line (-450) and against the spread (-8 points), evident of the fact that most everyone will be expecting the Heat to prevail at home and push on to yet another shot at an NBA title. After a 20-point blowout against Boston on Thursday evening, it will be interesting to see if Boston can muster up one last major surge of offense and defensive prowess, and hold back the oncoming rush of greatness sure to be on display from LeBron James. Make sure to put this game on the top of your online sports betting list, as no doubt this Game 7 will be a thrilling finale to what has been a hugely entertaining NBA playoff series.

For the Stanley Cup Finals clash tonight, once again the New Jersey Devils get another shot at holding on in this year’s Cup run, up against the wall with a 3-1 advantage in the series going to the Los Angeles Kings. Playing much better on Wednesday night in LA, the Devils must have some confidence building for Game 5 back on their home ice at the Prudential Center, but will have to overcome the Kings’ road game, which so far has gone undefeated in this year’s incredible underdog playoff push. Rightly so, this game is dead even on the money line, with both teams getting -110 odds in a game that once again could go either way. The only likely definitive is the lack of goal scoring, which for the 4th straight time in four games fell under the 4.5 goals mark in Game 4. Look for another set of outstanding goalie performances from LA’s Jonathan Quick and New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur to lead the charge towards another nail-biting, close finish tonight.

Lastly for our wagers on the day at WagerWeb Sportsbook, we’re looking across the vast landscape of Major League Baseball competition, as the exciting Interleague play continues on into Saturday. Once more the top series we’re watching out for lies with the New York Yankees and New York Mets in the Subway Series, with the Mets trying to bounce back after a crushing 9-1 defeat in which the Yankees again handled the Mets’ staff ace Johan Santana. It may be another high scoring evening with Dillion Gee of the Mets up against Phil Hughes of the Yankees, but all the more exciting for baseball fans engaging with this match-up. With the bats of the Yanks looking like they are catching fire, we’re going with the 1.5 runs the Yankees need to cover at +130 odds as the prime pick in this match-up. Other great showdowns in MLB Interleague play include the Washington Nationals seek a second straight victory over the Boston Red Sox after winning their first-ever road game at Fenway (Gio Gonzalez vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka), a great pitching battle up in Seattle as the Mariners host the LA Dodgers once again (Jason Vargas vs. Clayton Kershaw), with Seattle looking to stay sharp after dishing up a combined no-hitter last night, and down in South Florida find the Tampa Bay Rays clashing once again with the Miami Marlins (Matt Moore vs. Carlos Zambrano). No doubt that with 15 games on the MLB schedule today, you’ll certainly be able to find some great online sports betting on baseball, to go along with tons of other great wagering options across all the sports action served up for Saturday!

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NBA Playoff Games, Preakness Stakes Top Sportsbook Betting

It’s a jam-packed day of action for betting on sports at one of the top reviewed online sportsbooks here, and getting the ball rolling right away we focus in on the ever-exciting action of horse racing, with the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes in the second leg of the U.S. Triple Crown. For betting on the Preakness, head to one of the easiest sports betting websites in the world at Intertops Sportsbook, where you’ll have no trouble quickly getting in to all the betting lines available on the big race set for 6:18 PM ET. The Odds-on favorite for the race is Bob Baffert’s Bodemeister, currently at 3/2 odds, with Kentucky Derby winner I’ll have another second on the lines at 9/4 odds and Creative Cause a longer-shot favorite at 13/2 odds. If you haven’t yet gotten involved in the excitement of horse racing this year, now is a great time to do it in the Kentucky Derby ‘Lite’ as some have come to call it, with a number of talented horses in the field and an always exciting atmosphere during the 9.5 furlong race to glory. Start your bets off today with the Preakness Stakes, and enjoy the great challenge of betting on horses!

Flipping over to other top action in online sports betting today, the UEFA Champions League Final is set to get underway between Chelsea and Bayern Munich, in the culmination of what has been a truly great competition between the elite squads across Europe. With the final taking place in Munich, Germany, home-pitch advantage clearly goes to Bayern Munich, with them pulling down -149 odds to win, with Chelsea a large +350 underdog. If you’re a fan of the beautiful game, make sure to check your options for betting on soccer at Intertops, as this is the last truly important piece of wagering for soccer ahead of Euro 2012 competition.

Next on the line, turn your sights on playoff competition getting underway in the NBA, as two games take place tonight at Staples Center in Los Angeles for the NBA’s Western Conference Semifinals, with the Los Angeles Clippers trying to get one game back against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3, and later the Los Angeles Lakers will try to even things up against Oklahoma City before the series once again shifts back to the Sooner State. The Spurs, dominant in two straight games at home to take a 2-0 series lead over the Clippers, are a 5 point favorite on the road and will look to increase their impressive winning streak to 17 straight games. If the Clippers can’t pull out a victory at home tonight, they’ll face a 3-0 series deficit that no team in NBA history has overcome. Everything is on the line for the Clippers in the first NBA playoff game of the day, so make sure to bite into a piece of the online sports betting action on this showdown.

For the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles has won 14 straight playoff games against the Thunder franchise, dating all the way back to 1980 when the team was still the Seattle SuperSonics. The Lakers have continued to play excellent defense at home, holding the Thunder to a playoff-low 39.8 percent shooting in Game 3 to make the series 2-1 in favor of OKC, but will need to step up their game even more tonight to even the series before heading back to Oklahoma, where the Lakers have simply not had the same offensive punch and defensive stinginess required to hold back the scoring threats of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Expect the atmosphere to be a star-studded, loud, and intense for tonight’s game, with tight betting lines featuring the Lakers as +100 underdogs, and OKC at -120 odds to win straight up.

Rounding out today’s top options for betting on sports, Interleague play in Major League Baseball continues on into the second day of action, with more great once-in-a-season series between American and National League teams adding in a bit of extra excitement to the usual mass of baseball betting lines. Once again though, one of the most intriguing match-ups is the lone NL match-up between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals, with another fantastic pitching duel set up between LA’s Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, and St. Louis’ Jake Westbrook, who is having a resurgence in his career during the second year with the Cardinals. Los Angeles is a -145 favorite for today’s game, and with a low 6 run over/under expect a great day for pitching fans to watch two masters at work. Make sure to also catch exciting interleague games between the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals (Jason Hammel vs. Ross Detweiler), the Atlanta Braves vs. Tampa Bay Rays (rookie Randall Delgado vs. rookie Alex Cobb), and another great showdown between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox (Joe Blanton vs. Jon Lester). There’s no question that with so much great sports action taking place on Saturday around the globe, you’ll be more than able to find some great betting lines at the best online sportsbook at Intertops, so scope out your picks, place your wagers, and enjoy all the exciting competition to come today!